Hospital and land owners discuss possible development of a parcel

Carson-Tahoe Hospital and the Andersen family, owners of a 7.8-acre pasture just northwest of the hospital on Mountain Street, are having discussions regarding development of the pasture.

The hospital has hired land-planning consultant George L. Szabo to gather comments on the project, and he will be discussing the feasibility of developing the parcel with neighbors at the Brewery Arts Center tonight.

Surrounded by residential areas, the parcel is a lush irrigated pasture opening to a view of Kings Canyon and the Sierra. It provides a haven for deer, geese, coyotes and eagles that regularly inhabit the area.

According to Carson-Tahoe Hospital officials, development of the property could help alleviate pressure the hospital has for expanding. However, development of the pasture land has been a bone of contention for residents living beyond the hospital's "super block": a large rectangular parcel bordered by Mountain, Fleischmann, Washington, and Minnesota streets.

The debate is not new. This issue has surfaced fairly regularly since the 1970s, neighborhood residents said.

Neighbor Paul LeFleur believes a medical complex would have an unfavorable impact on the neighborhood, resulting in the degradation of property values and decrease the quality of life.

Ed Kiewicz agrees, noting neighbors can see no real justification for expansion.

"Is it possible to create the expansion within the (hospital) boundaries? If it is possible, why not do that?" Kiewicz said. "The ink isn't dry on the (hospital's) master plan yet, and nowhere does it say that expansion is necessary or desirable."

Pat Anderson, an alternate on the city's Open Space Committee, noted property owners have the first right.

"We can't force our vision on property owners," Anderson said during a meeting of Carson-Tahoe Hospital's Building Committee. "It's in our best interest to work with Ira (Andersen), and we did try to arrange a meeting with Michael Ford of the Conservation Fund," Anderson said. The Fund was interested in helping preserve the pasture as open space. "Ira declined to meet with Ford .... He made it clear that development (of this land) is more important than preservation.

"I'd love to see the pasture preserved," Anderson said. "We gave it a good shot, but Ira wasn't interested."

"We would like to be a vehicle," Steve Smith, CTH's chief executive officer, countered, noting that if the land isn't left as a pasture, the hospital could ensure there would be buffers. "We want to be good neighbors."

The issue is further clouded by the fact that the area is zoned residential, which precludes any commercial development there. Community Development Director Walter Sullivan said there are no applications pending to change the zoning and the process, which is normally taken up in February or August, can take about 2 1/2 months.

According to Szabo, any feasible development concept for the property will include only low-profile buildings, and provide adequate open space buffers with adjoining parcels, incorporate trail extensions, preserve visual corridors, solve potential drainage issues, allow quiet medical uses, and minimize the impact from traffic.

What: Neighborhood meeting to discuss possible expansion of the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Health Care Campus to Andersen Field

When: Today 6:30-8 p.m.

Where: Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St., Carson City. For information call: 888-9282

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